Sleeping Pill questions

It’s been 2 weeks now and i’m tired of falling asleep at 6 am everyday. I’m missing classes I need to be going to. I’ve just decided to try some sleeping pills. I was thinking of trying unisom.

But i’ve decided to come here first to ask about anyone’s experience with sleeping pills. Addictive? (psychological as well as physiological). Morning after effects? Drug interactions?

For anyone who’s tried Unisom do the sleeping tablets or the sleeping gel work better? They have different active ingrediants

Sleeping tablet: Doxylamine Succinate (25mg)
Sleeping Gel: Diphenhydramine HCl (50mg)

Other pills?

Oh and if anyone’s using these things I notice they’re really cheap at 32 for 9 bucks, at least I think thats cheap, I haven’t been to a store to check out the Retail price.

Thanks guys.

Well, as for Unisom and the like, unless you can assure that you will have a full 8 (maybe even 9) hours to sleep, you may find it difficult to wake up in the morning. They don’t really help you get to sleep, but keep you from waking up during the night or sleeping fitfully. I’ve never had a problem with becoming addicted to Unisom or any OTC sleep aids with diphenhydramine. I haven’t tried any of the sleep gels.

Melatonin works quite well, but gives me horribly vivid dreams. This is a common occurrence among people who have used it. So horrible, in fact, that I would never use it again. You may not have any problems with it, so it’s worth a shot as it does seem to work wonderfully, all other things aside.

A good resource for information regarding sleep aids and other issues regarding sleep is Talk About Sleep. You may find something that helps you there.

I hope you can find something that works!

I very rarely use them. There was a point in time that I used them nearly every night to help me get to sleep, and when I stopped I found that it was more difficult to get to sleep for the first week or so. Whether psychological or physical, I don’t know. YMMV, naturally.

I don’t know about any drug interactions.

What I’ve found, now that I almost never use them is that half a dose works fine when I decide that one will help me fall asleep. A full dose almost guarantees that I will have the “sleeping pill hangover” in the morning - with that, I’m very spacey and it definitely takes longer to get coherent thoughts moving in my head. Again, it could be psychological or physical.

I agree with what was said earlier - make sure you have that eight hours to sleep through the effects of the pill. If you have to get up at 6 and don’t crawl into bed until midnight, you likely won’t make it up in the morning. At least I didn’t, last time I did that (I actually got a wake-up call from my boss worrying that something was wrong. I’d only been working there six weeks too.)

If you’re going to go the sleeping gel route, diphenhydramine is really just benadryl, and you can find that for pretty cheap at any brick and mortar drug store.

I have had mixed experiences with sleep aids. In college, I was taking OTC sleeping pills for a while and found it pretty difficult to get up the next morning. As someone else mentioned, taking half a dose worked quite well.

I have taken melatonin with some good results. I was surprised, actually, NOT to have the vivid-dream problem I had heard so much about, seeing as I normally have fairly vivid and scary dreams.

I have also taken prescription sleep aids, most recently Ambien. It is possible to get a short course of these prescribed for you if you have a genuine sleep issue. However, I (and a lot of people I know who have taken Ambien) have noticed that there is a weird sort of ‘twilight’ between taking it and falling asleep. I know one woman who used to take it and watch TV and, on two occasions, ordered things off the TV without remembering doing so. In my case, it was more having conversations I didn’t remember and the like.

Best of luck. I had horrible insomnia for years and years. Then I get pregnant and slept like a dream for months. Now I have an infant and am sure I will never sleep through the night again…

You can get generic diphenhydramine for pretty cheap at any drugstore. It does the trick. When I take one, I try to take it a half hour before I want to be asleep. it takes about 20-30 minutes to kick in.

As some folks have said, make sure you’re going to get 8 hours of sleep. If you take it at midnight and have to be up at 6, you’re going to feel groggy.

The absolute best thing you can do for sleeplessness is to have a regular sleeping schedule and stick to it.

Yep I second Unisom Gel-caps. But make sure you get the full 8 hours because if you take it at 11, and wake up at 6, you’ll basically just feel like luggage until you wake up fully.

I take unisom quite often, but I also get 9 hours of sleep a night. But one of the best benefits of the Pfizer product is that you wake up refreshed - if you get the 8 hours required - and feeling great!

You might want to find out why you’ve had two weeks of insomnia before you mask the symptoms with sleeping aids. Might not be a bad idea to see someone to make sure that nothing else is going on.

Prescription sleep meds that saved my sanity, if not my wallet:
zopiclone; low addiction, little or no hangover ($30 per pill)
zaleplon; non addictive; lasts an hour – perfect for when you wake up too early. ($2 per pill)

My advice, don’t take these things and then watch TV or call up your friends. Take them and go to bed, lights out. Sleep well.

If you have anxiety, get counseling too.

whoops, meant to say zopiclone is $1 per pill.

wow, thanks guys. I’ll make sure to get that 8 hours of sleep.

I actually generally sleep quite late (3am) anyway, but it’s just been really bad lately. Yesterday I went to bed at 2 am, didn’t sleep til 6. I got up a few times cause I was so restless. One of which was to post the OP.

Anyway, thanks guys.

Sleeping pills can be quite addictive, including zopiclone and zaleplon, which are more similar to other benzodiazepines than drug companies like to admit (see Jones JR, Physical dependence on zopiclone, BMJ 316:117, 1998).

Common causes of insomnia include depression, anxiety disorders, stress and sleep apnea. Alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, physical illness (especially cardiopulmonary disease) are also fairly common.

Serious side effects from sleeping pills are also common. According to one study (Kupfer DJ, Management of insomnia, NEJM 336:341-46, 1997), no randomized trial has shown a benefit to taking a medicine for longer than 35 days. Benzodiazepines are addictive, suppress memories, increase risk of falls in the elderly and affect cognition in some elderly patients (Bursztajn HJ, Arch Int Med 159:2393-95, 1999).

Sleeping pills can be very helpful, too. If used for a short period of time only. If used sparingly from time to time. If used only to break a cycle of insomnia.

Before taking another medicine, try these things:

  1. Go to bed only when sleepy
  2. Do not read, eat or watch TV in bed (for sleeping and sex only)
  3. If you are in bed and can’t sleep, go to another room until really sleepy, than go back to bed. Do nto watch TV (is arousing).
  4. Set the alarm for the same time each morning.
  5. Avoid sleeping during the day.

Another approach is to write down the amount of sleep you get, than make bedtime that number of hours plus thirty minutes before the fixed morning wake up time. After a week, make the bedtime 15 minutes earlier every week that 85% of the time in bed is spent sleeping.

Behavioural therapy (including challenging the common expectation everyone needs 8 hours of sleep) has been shown to be more effective than any medicine after two years of floow-up (Morin CM. Behavioural and pharmacological therapies, JAMA 281:991-9, 1999). Old folks who exercise sleep better (King AC, JAMA 277:32-7, 1997.)

By all means try sleeping pills. Occasionally. They are not a magic bullet, are generally addictive and commonly make one feel “drugged” the morning after. They also have their place.

As an insomnia sufferer for over a decade, I sympathize. I was on Ambien for 5+ years, and it worked great. Yes, I experienced that weird twilight time where I had amnesia. The worst things I did were eat food and bid on stuff on eBay. But you know, avoid that if you can. Take it and go to bed.

BUT this is not the real answer. The real answer is good sleep hygiene. This means going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, no matter what. If you’re used to going to bed at 3am, do that, but get up at 8am. Continue to do this, DO NOT NAP, and eventually, you will fall asleep earlier. Your body will force to into a more normal cycle.

Also: don’t eat anything within 4 hours of going to bed. Not even a snack, nothing. Don’t read in bed. Don’t do homework in bed. Don’t talk on the phone in bed. Just sleep and, if you’re lucky, have sex.

Trust me, sleeping pills are not the ultimate answer. Long-term, they are addictive, psychologically if not physically. Also, they’re a crutch. It’s hard to get on a regular schedule (mine got screwed up in college) but it really helps.

While I was living in ICU, I found it very difficult to sleep while:

  1. not in my favourite positition

  2. attached to all of those annoying wires and IV’s (3 IV’s)

As such the doc gave me some nice little white pill that put me out like a light, and did not leave me “druggy” in the morning.

Unfortunately, I do not recall the name of those wondeful little pills.

Other than that, I never use them.

Good luck trying to find affordable behavioral therapy for sleep issues from someone who specializes in, and has successful experience with, sleep disorders.

Thanks guys, I’m going to try my first pill tonight. 50 mg pill Diphenhydramine HCl some rite aid generic brand.

Wish me luck.

Hrm… tutition… doctor… tuition… doctor. =)